"Things Are Not Going Well..."
Nicolas Sarkozy delivered a televised address on Monday in which he confronted the issue of the Irish no vote, among other topics. Le Figaro has a synopsis:
"Things are not going well, Europe worries us today and, worse, the citizens are wondering if, in the end, the national level is not a better means of protection than the European level," Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledged. That is why, in his opinion, it is necessary "to change profoundly our method of building Europe." His objective? "To make of Europe a means of protection for Europeans in their daily lives." "I want to trigger a healthy shock, because it is the idea of Europe that is in danger if the people are not protected."
Note: When he speaks of protection he seems to be referring primarily to economic measures, as opposed to protection from crime.
He spoke also of reducing the TVA (value added tax) on fuel, as well as on the restaurant industry, videos, and CD's. Permission to reduce the tax must be granted by the EU. France has been trying since 2002 to obtain a reduction on the restaurant tax.
On immigration he insisted that he has "a heart":
"Let us agree on policies that protect the ensemble of Europe. I have a heart, but when someone does not have his papers he has to be sent home. If we accept everyone, the social pact will explode, everything will explode. Those who work can be easily legalized, but we cannot give papers to everybody."
Note: Sarkozy has always insisted that he believes in repatriating illegals, but the number of persons sent back is minimal, new immigrants are arriving legally in great numbers, and hundreds (at the very least) have been summarily legalized.
On the Irish vote:
"We don't have much time," he said, stressing that the limit for finding a solution was the European elections of 2009. "The Irish no complicates the job of Europeans. The first priority is that the other countries continue to ratify. I am planning to visit Ireland to see what can be done."
He said he will announce later whether or not he will attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games on August 8.
For those interested, the IHT has a review of recent remarks by Sarkozy and Bernard Kouchner on economic matters and the EU. In the article Kouchner suddenly sounds as if he is in sympathy with the Irish who "understand nothing" because he doesn't either!
What a difference a no vote makes.